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May 14, 2006

Poets and Prophets

Kierkegaard (quoted by Carlin Romano):

"Muhammad protests with all his might against being regarded as a poet, and the Koran as a poem. He wants to be a prophet. ... I protest with all my might at being regarded as a prophet, and want only to be a poet."

Either would be fine by me.

Actually haven't been that many atheists in either category. At least one world-class poet: Shelley. Some fine writers: Baron d"Holbach, Thomas Huxley, Robert Ingersoll, Nietzsche. At least one great writer: Virginia Woolf. Prophets? Odd term to apply to an atheist. Meslier? Nietzsche?

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at May 14, 2006 1:30 AM


Yes, Kierkegaard did not want followers, rather, he wanted people to read his work and become better people.

Posted by: Henry at May 14, 2006 3:10 AM

I'd submit Blake. Granted, his prophecies are, in William Butler Yeats' words, "inspired mumblings". And granted that he did accord almost divine status to Jesus. But his Jesus was more the symbol of what every man could be rather than the son of God. And Blake knew exactly what God was:

Then old Nobodaddy aloft
Farted & belchd & coughd
And said I love hanging & drawing & quartering
Every bit as well as war & slaughtering

And he did write prophecies, prophecies of liberty and justice, that in their finest passages are as powerful and noble as any.

Posted by: Richard Blumberg at May 14, 2006 12:17 PM

For non-supernatural prophecies look to the congnitive scientists. The main problem with most all prophecies is that they are all centered around homo sapiens, and the universe isn't.

Posted by: Jay Saul at May 15, 2006 9:06 AM

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